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OCSR Vermicomposting Bin Design Plans E-mail
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Sunday, 11 September 2005

by Dan Holcombe and John J. Longfellow

The OSCR Vermicompost Bin is a small-scale (36” wide x 48” long x 36” high), non-automated version of Oregon Soil Corporation’s large-scale (8’ wide x 120’ long), automated vermiculture compost system. It is advertised as a serious waste management tool with a processing capacity of 30 pounds of food waste per week. At this capacity it is larger than most households require, but it’s ease of use and other features still make it attractive for home use. A single OSCR bin or a series of OSCR bins are suitable for schools and other commercial kitchens. The OSCR also functions as a great tool for educating the public about health, safety and nuisance issues related to composting. And, the volume of finished product is also great enough to draw attention to the importance of developing markets for composted organic wastes.

One of the fun and potentially more affordable things about the OSCR is that you get to build it yourself. It is being offered via a do-it-yourself 46-page manual, the purchase of which allows one to build as many as they wish for a particular site. The cost of the manual is $50 and it is suggested by its creators that the parts for a basic insulated bin can be purchased in most communities for about $150 new or $50 used.
Features of the OSCR include a flow-through system, so that it is fed at the top and the castings are harvested at the bottom, provisions for collection of compost “tea,” an optional thermostatically controlled soil heater for outdoor use in winter (not included in the above suggested parts price), and security against insects and other pests. Within the OSCR manual, in addition to detailed plans and instructions for building the unit, there are complete lists of parts required and testing and support tools. Forms for keeping daily records and observations, temperature grid audits and an extensive operation plan questionnaire are provided, and there are also tables for estimating the required capacity, cost, return on investment and dry weight carbon:nitrogen ratios. In addition, there is extensive information about waste stream management and the operation of the OSCR. For schools with a desire to use the system in their curriculum there are suggested activities suitable for a variety of classes and ideas for students to use the finished products on site and for activity clubs to earn money. As you may suspect, you will be in for a lot of reading, maybe even studying.

The OSCR manual and bin design were created by the combined efforts of Dan Holcombe of Oregon Soil Corporation and John Longfellow, a recycling coordinator for a small eastern Washington state county. They are currently testing a new design for a smaller (1/2 pound of waste/day), low cost ($20 for new parts), easy to build, household version of the flow-thru OSCR system that will be out in the Spring of 1996. {Ed. note: plans for that system, the OSCR Jr. are available in PDF format at the website.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 October 2005 )
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